Mega Millions In Minutes: How NFL Players' Salaries Match Up Against Fans'

NFL football salariesBy Randall Hauk

Larry Fitzgerald agrees to continue his job as a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals for the next eight years for $120 million.

Chris Johnson accepts an offer from the Tennessee Titans to continue as their running back for the next six years in exchange $53 million.

Quarterback Michael Vick signs a contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles worth $100 million over six years.

These NFL salaries have made headlines in recent months, in part because they are so far beyond anything most people could even fathom earning. How far? Let's use's database to take a look.

NFL Salary Showdown #1: Larry Fitzgerald vs. Arizona Cardinals Fans

Larry Fitzgerald entered his eighth season as an Arizona Cardinal with a shiny new contract. As he neared the final year of his existing deal, his status as an elite player motivated his employer to find a way to keep him in Phoenix.

Earning $120 million over eight years pencils out to an annual average of $15 million per year. Due to the structure of the deal, however, Fitzgerald will make a staggering $20 million dollars in 2011.

How does Fitzgerald's salary compare to that of some average Arizona Joes?

Job Title

2011 Annual Salary

How to make Fitzgerald's salary?

What can Larry do to make that salary?

Executive Assistant


329 years

Be in a game for 3 minutes

Operations Manager


255 years

Score 0.2 touchdowns

Software Engineer


175 years

Gain 6.5 yards receiving

Fitzgerald is the best-paid wide receiver in the league, as well as the best player on his team.

The next highest-paid wide receiver, Calvin Johnson ($8.875 million) of the Detroit Lions, will make less than half what Fitzgerald will make in 2011.

NFL Salary Showdown #2: Chris Johnson vs. Tennessee Titans Fans

Chris Johnson just entered his fourth year as an NFL running back. Despite his short time on the job and two years remaining on a prior deal, Johnson wants to be paid like one of the league's elite, a status his production statistics say he has earned.

After intense negotiations, employer and employee agreed to a deal worth $56 million over the next six years, averaging about $9.3 million per year. Thanks to a $10 million signing bonus supplementing a guaranteed $3 million salary, Johnson is scheduled to take home $13 million for his work in 2011.

How does Johnson's salary compare to his Sunday fans?

Job Title

2011 Annual Salary

How to make Johnson's salary?

What can Chris do to make that salary?

Staff Accountant


306 years

Gain 1.25 yards receiving

Construction Manager


222 years

Run for half a touchdown

IT Project Manager


170 years

Rush for 80 yards

With a $10 million signing bonus and a $3 million salary, Johnson passes Adrian Peterson ($10.7 million) of the Minnesota Vikings to become the top earner among NFL running backs in 2011.

Salary Showdown #3: Michael Vick vs. Philadelphia Eagles Fans

What is interesting about Michael Vick's new contract is that it's not the first time he's signed for nine figures, having signed his first $100 million-deal back in 2004, Vick is now the only NFL player to have earned two such contracts in a career.

There aren't many jobs in Philadelphia that will pay the $20 million. Vick will earn in his role as leader of the Eagle offense in 2011. Here are some gigs and salaries for Philly fans and how they stack against the Vick deal.

Job Title

2011 Annual Salary

How to make Vick's salary?

What can Michael do to make that salary?

Administrative Assistant


492 years

Score 0.8 of a touchdown

Registered Nurse


296 years

Rush for 3.04 yards



215 years

Pass for 18.76 yards

Despite the eye-opening number, Vick won't be the highest-paid signal-caller in 2011 season. That honor goes to Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning, who is on the books for a whopping $23 million.

Source: Salary data for fans provided by online salary database All salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time employees with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

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